Federal Aid for Softwood Lumber Sector – Too Little, Too Late
June 2, 2017
On April 25th, the United States imposed countervailing duties as high as 24% on Canadian softwood lumber imports. In response, the Liberal Government announced an $867 million compensation package for Canadian lumber producers affected by the ongoing softwood lumber dispute – a dispute the Liberals could have avoided by negotiating a new deal.
The government’s aid package for the softwood industry is just a last-minute band-aid solution that is too little and comes too late for forestry workers and their families. Mills are already closing down across the country and this money won’t bring those jobs back.
Canadian forestry workers deserve stability and predictability from their government, but Liberal inaction to get a new softwood lumber deal has put whole communities that rely on the lumber industry at risk. This is especially true in our riding of Yellowhead, in which companies like Weyerhaeuser and West Fraser employ thousands of local residents.
Negotiating a new softwood lumber agreement has never been a priority for this government. Leadership starts at the top, and the Prime Minister set the tone on this file in 2015 when he failed to give his Ministers a mandate to secure a new agreement.
I am disappointed that this Liberal Government has failed one of the largest sectors in our riding of Yellowhead. When will the Liberals get back at the negotiating table and protect our forestry industry?